How Ann Dowd finds the humanity in ‘Handmaids Tale’ villain

Ann Dowd is again as evil Aunt Lydia in Season four of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Dowd, who gained a 2017 Emmy for the position, mentioned she doesn’t wallow in Lydia’s evil aspect as she terrorizes the ladies of Gilead, the dystopian world at the heart of the Hulu collection.

“All of us have humanity in us — some of us have it buried deep, some of us have it kicked out of us, but somewhere the core remains,” Dowd, 65, instructed The Post. 

“When you’re coming to know a character, one of the things we decide beforehand is to listen without judgment and find out who she is and know that there is part of her that is good,” she mentioned. “Let’s see if we can come to understand what may have brought her to be this person that she is.”

Over the course of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Aunt Lydia has sided with the institution in the brutal regime of Gilead, typically subjugating different ladies in the course of. 

In Season 4 (new episodes premiere each Wednesday), collection protagonist June (Elisabeth Moss) fights again towards the powers that be, having despatched a aircraft full of youngsters to security in Canada, the place Emily (Alexis Bledel) is attempting to assist them. Aunt Lydia, who oversees the handmaids, is as tyrannical as ever — however she’s in scorching water over June’s rebel. 

Ann Dowd plays evil Aunt Lydia in "The Handmaid's Tale."
Ann Dowd performs evil Aunt Lydia in “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

In Episode 3, there’s a harrowing sequence in which June is tortured in Lydia’s presence. “The [heavier scenes] are all challenging, I will say. And that’s kind of the joy in it, isn’t it? A little terrifying, but it’s tremendously satisfying if you can get a foot in there and experience [that],” mentioned Dowd. “When June is about to be tortured and having to figure out where Lydia lands and all of that, there’s so many conflicting emotions: rage, love, worry, despair. So that was a real challenge to find that balance. But fortunately it’s with Elisabeth [Moss], my love, who’s terrific on every level. It was a great, great pleasure.”

Not all is doom and gloom behind the scenes in Gilead. In 2019, as an example a viral video of cast members dancing to the Taylor Swift son “ME!” made headlines. Dowd mentioned she’s unsure if there can be a follow-up solid dance video for this season. 

“When I was there, we didn’t have any of that nonsense going on — I say ‘nonsense,’ I’m joking,” she mentioned. “I loved every second. I don’t know, I bet they got something up their sleeve. I wouldn’t be surprised, because who knows what those hooligans are doing!”

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